LAA “GRASS ROOTS FLY IN” RETURNS TO POPHAM 18-20 AUGUST

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Steve Slater
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LAA “GRASS ROOTS FLY IN” RETURNS TO POPHAM 18-20 AUGUST

Post by Steve Slater » Mon Apr 03, 2023 12:23 pm

LAA “GRASS ROOTS FLY IN” RETURNS TO POPHAM AERODROME
Friday 18th to Sunday 20th August 2023.

The LAA is returning to the green grass of Popham Aerodrome in Hampshire for a repeat of its “Grass Roots Fly In” from 18th to 20th August 2023. The Fly-In will again on one hand take the Associate back to its traditional roots, while continuing to offer the first chance to see some of the latest aircraft and products in the recreational aviation market.

What was particularly notable about the 2022 Popham event was its sociality. Both LAA members and exhibitors alike commented on its relaxed and friendly atmosphere, with post-event comments such as “It’s a great reunion as well as a fly-in–cum trade show” and “super friendly, the event always had a good vibe”.

A joint venture with Popham Aerodrome, the LAA Grass Roots Fly In will develop its strengths as a social event bringing flyers from around the UK and Europe to meet fellow enthusiasts. The grass runways at Popham and the airfield’s famed rural ambience will mean that the event will focus on the fly-in and social element as much as on a large exhibition campus. The earlier mid-August date will also mean longer evenings, allowing more scope for flyers from further afield and hopefully, milder conditions for those who choose to ‘camp under the wing’.

Said LAA CEO designate Simon Tilling: “The LAA Grass Roots Fly In was a great success last year, with over 3,000 visitors, more than 30 exhibitors and a total of 350 visiting aircraft through the weekend. It is a different event to the past, larger scale LAA Rallies and we’re working on plans for the continuation of a larger scale LAA event in the future. For this year, we’re looking forward to another great, social and fun, LAA fly in”.
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Ian Melville
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Re: LAA “GRASS ROOTS FLY IN” RETURNS TO POPHAM 18-20 AUGUST

Post by Ian Melville » Mon Apr 03, 2023 1:32 pm

Great news
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fawkesb
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Re: LAA “GRASS ROOTS FLY IN” RETURNS TO POPHAM 18-20 AUGUST

Post by fawkesb » Tue Apr 04, 2023 11:33 am

oh great, booked my annual leave months ago to cover the usual LAA Flyin in the usual first week in Sept, and it has now been changed to mid August 2023 - great idea guys :roll:
Working during this period - deep joy :-(
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Steve Slater
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Re: LAA “GRASS ROOTS FLY IN” RETURNS TO POPHAM 18-20 AUGUST

Post by Steve Slater » Tue Apr 04, 2023 5:01 pm

Sorry to hear Ben.

Of course we had hoped that we could maintain our regular weekend, but sadly neither Popham nor other venues we had been looking at were available in the first weekend of September.

Steve
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Nigel Bailey
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Re: LAA “GRASS ROOTS FLY IN” RETURNS TO POPHAM 18-20 AUGUST

Post by Nigel Bailey » Wed Apr 12, 2023 2:39 pm

You know, I had a sneaking suspicion that this would happen.
It's no secret amongst long term members that the "management" have always wanted to get rid of the rally, and have suceeded on some occasions.
The "Grass roots Fly In" was just that.."A Fly In" and absolutely NO substitute for a proper LAA/PFA Rally whatsoever.. We've heard all the excuses... Oh we need a more secure airfield to hold a rally as people will get in for free. Well Popham is hardly that is it?
The LAA is going backwards here, as I believe the vast majority of paying members want a proper Rally, just like the ones we used to have. You are never going to attract the numbers by going to Popham, and it's the numbers of aircraft, Pilots, traders, food outlets, foreign visitors and yes, the general public, all put together, make a good Rally.
So lets stop all the excuses shall we, and stop bigging up the "Grass Roots nonsense", as if that is any consolation.
Surely, the members deserve better than this!!
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Bill McCarthy
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Re: LAA “GRASS ROOTS FLY IN” RETURNS TO POPHAM 18-20 AUGUST

Post by Bill McCarthy » Wed Apr 12, 2023 3:10 pm

My first rally as a member was in ‘76 in Sywell I seem to remember. And the final one in Sywell will have been my last as a member. I’m out of it this year. :evil:
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mike newall
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Re: LAA “GRASS ROOTS FLY IN” RETURNS TO POPHAM 18-20 AUGUST

Post by mike newall » Thu Apr 13, 2023 9:45 am

Imagine the furore in the US

Ahhh well, Oshkosh is done now. We will just have a little bit of a do somewhere rural..... :wink:

If we cannot find a suitable venue for an annual rally - it is very poor show. I was stunned that Popham was incident free given the local airspace and arrival challenges.
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Re: LAA “GRASS ROOTS FLY IN” RETURNS TO POPHAM 18-20 AUGUST

Post by peterg » Thu Apr 13, 2023 1:01 pm

I have to agree with the sentiments of dismay and disappointment regarding a repeat of last year's underwhelming event at Popham. Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against Popham, a delightful airfield in its own right, or 'Grass Roots' Fly-Ins, but this is not a Rally and never will be. How the Committee can make the claims that it was 'sociable' is beyond me, I had to stay in a hotel in Basingstoke and saw two other attendees. Likewise, the claim that it was a success because 'over three hundred aircraft attended', we used to get around a thousand at Sywell. Finally, 'Popham was popular with the members', I have yet to meet one north of the border who shares that view. As for the exhibitors, despite their best efforts, you could walk down the displays in 15 minutes, then what? Sit in the one cafe? There is also another dimension to this, and that is the north-south divide. It is disingenuous of the Committee to cater for members in the southern half of the country, while ignoring those of us in the midlands and further north. I made the journey from Scotland last year but doubt very much that I will make the effort again, it simply is not worth the effort or expense. Furthermore, this situation is not one year, but two years in the making and it is a huge disappointment that the Committee have failed to secure a suitable venue in that time. Perhaps the Committee can explain how Aero-Expo can go ahead at Sywell, but a LAA Rally cannot? It seems that, yet again, Popham provided an easy and cheap option. By all means have Grass Roots Fly-Ins, but it is not a Rally. Come on LAA management, you can and must do better.
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Ian Melville
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Re: LAA “GRASS ROOTS FLY IN” RETURNS TO POPHAM 18-20 AUGUST

Post by Ian Melville » Thu Apr 13, 2023 6:04 pm

I think we have found the 2024 Rally organising committee :lol:
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Nigel Bailey
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Re: LAA “GRASS ROOTS FLY IN” RETURNS TO POPHAM 18-20 AUGUST

Post by Nigel Bailey » Thu Apr 13, 2023 7:03 pm

I think you will find Ian that there are quite a few of the individuals that were involved with the Rally organisation from the 1980s still going to the present rallies!
I personally first flew my Robin Dr250 into the PFA rally at Cranfield on 7/7/1984 and have been doing it, in different aircraft as often as I have been able to ever since. In those days, we had REAL rallies, and their airfields became the busiest airfields in Europe for the three days. My wife also got involved and ended up running the Accommodation for all the incoming pilots from the UK and around Europe. From there she moved on to the executive committee of the PFA and from there became the vice chairman of the PFA. We still know and meet some of the contempories from those days at the present rallies.
So perhaps you can see why me, and many of the old brigade are so dissapointed with the way our rallies are going these days. If we could do it 50 years ago, we should be able to do it today, and there really is no excuse for the very poor performance of the LAA management on this particular issue.
I remember a common saying within the members of the PFA in those days... "It's worth being a member of the PFA for the Magazine and the Rally".
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Ian Melville
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Re: LAA “GRASS ROOTS FLY IN” RETURNS TO POPHAM 18-20 AUGUST

Post by Ian Melville » Thu Apr 13, 2023 8:15 pm

I'm not passing any comment on how rallys are run now or in the past. I am pointing out the old addage that if you can do better, then step up to the challange. Several indicated that they could indeed do better.
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Nigel Bailey
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Re: LAA “GRASS ROOTS FLY IN” RETURNS TO POPHAM 18-20 AUGUST

Post by Nigel Bailey » Sat Apr 15, 2023 7:08 pm

Yes Ian, and as I am now retired I would be perfectly happy to contribute to "doing better" as you put it. But as I remember, it was the LAA/PFA CEO and the Excecutive committee that decided the venue for the rally and the rally committee then worked on that. This procedure may have changed these days of course, you know more about this than me.
So perhaps you can suggest to us how members like me, (who think they can do better) can go about changing the mindset of those that make the decisions to condemn our special occasion to a little more than a farm strip fly in!
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Ian Melville
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Re: LAA “GRASS ROOTS FLY IN” RETURNS TO POPHAM 18-20 AUGUST

Post by Ian Melville » Sat Apr 15, 2023 8:05 pm

This procedure may have changed these days of course, you know more about this than me.
I think you must be mistaking me for someone else. I know nowt about the inner workings of the LAA. I was just a car Sparky Parky helper until I was made redundant by the Popham move.

I said before I am not passing comment on how rallies are run. I could add that I have no magical Ideas, but I wonder how many have collectively put their voice together and made it known they are not happy bunnies, perhaps at the AGM?
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Bill McCarthy
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Re: LAA “GRASS ROOTS FLY IN” RETURNS TO POPHAM 18-20 AUGUST

Post by Bill McCarthy » Mon Apr 17, 2023 4:08 pm

I organised a LAA “fly-in” ( by myself ) at Wick in May 2007, thinking that about a half dozen aircraft would turn up, it being so remote. As it turned out, 65 aircraft came from as far afield as Devon, and Eire - many dodging round severe weather to get here. But, at the last moment the airport dropped on me that there would be a landing fee, for charity, for the event ! There again, they said it was a fantastic exercise for them, never having had five or six aircraft on final. The busiest the airport had ever been and that included wartime ops.
I didn’t go to Popham as I knew it would not have the “atmosphere” of a rally. It’s getting further south, probably will end up in Goodwood or somewhere. The rally “Scots Corner” is but a faded memory. I have that feeling too that it’s not “grass roots” anymore but becoming an elitist organisation. Hence my decision to quit membership.

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Re: LAA “GRASS ROOTS FLY IN” RETURNS TO POPHAM 18-20 AUGUST

Post by Nigel Bailey » Tue Apr 18, 2023 10:31 pm

Well done Bill for organising that rally way up there in Scotland. My friend and I have flown our Piper Arrow III up to those parts (Perth) twice now on LAA Fly-ins and both times we had big issues with the Scotish WX. But we got there, and the local club and flyers did us proud. There was a great feeling and enthusiasm to be found there, and this is exactly the sort of feeling we are losing with our LAA's lackadaisical attitude to our main rally. Perhaps they can't be bothered with the quite substantial effort that is needed to run one of these events, or it could of course be the fact that we, as an association, are £64,000 down this year and can't actually afford to do it!! But one way or another, we must prevent the rot from setting in that will make the little Popham gathering the "norm" for years to come.

As to your point on "grass roots" I can only agree. When it costs over £100,000 for a home built aeroplane, we have somehow lost the whole essence of affordable flying, which is what the PFA was founded on. But it's still there, and I'm taking my Streak Shadow 912 into the next "Rally" to demonstrate to anoyone that will listen, that you can still buy and fly a safe, low cost and wonderful 2 seat aeroplane of your very own, with a fun factor of five ***** for less than £10,000 !!
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